Ruta Sepetys

Between Pages of Her Books

Out of Her Easy

Ruta Sepetys was born November 19, 1967 in Michigan. Sepetys is in a family with Lithuanian refugee. Her family members are all artists, readers, and music fondness. Sepetys went to college to study opera, but graduated with a degree in International Finance. She also spent twenty years doing music helping people turn their song into a story. She won the the Rockefeller Foundation’s prestigious Bellagio Residency for her novel Salt to the Sea. Sepetys was as well given The Cross of The Night by the president of Lithuania for educating and memory of Lithuania. Ruta Sepetys is very proud to be Lithuanian.

I think that Sepetys was inspired to write Between Shades of Gray because she grew up in a Lithuanian family, and she might have experienced these things in her life. The book was about the NKVD taking people from their homes and herding them on to trains and separating families. And that might might be the same for (Salt to the Sea). Sepetys seems to write from experience and from her own country and what happens in that place.

Goals that Sepetys uses in her writing is to Build a mood. She uses this a lot in Between Shades of Gray. When Lina is on the train, she is always describing how she feels to be herded into a train with people dying everyday. She does this as well in Out of the Easy, when Josie feels rejected from her mom because she is too caught up in her work. And when she does this in Salt to the Sea, the girls unleash how they are experiencing life in a war. Another goal that Sepetys uses is to stir empathy, by doing this in Out of the Easy she stirs empathy by the readers having Empathy for Josie because she gets no love from her mother and the people that do actually care about her are not in her family. In Salt to the Sea Sepetys stirs empathy for the girls who are suffering in the war and are trying so hard to survive. And lastly in Between Shades of Gray Sepetys she stirs empathy by feeling empathy for Josie’s family, when they are on the train crammed up and get separated from Josie’s dad.

Tequie Sepetys

Simple Sentence Starter

Sepetys mostly starts the chapter with simple sentences. She does this to tell the beginning plotline of that chapter in a simple and reliable way.

  • Out of the Easy: “Patrick wanted someone else.” (258)

  • Salt to the Sea: “Guilt is a hunter.” (1)

  • Between Shades of Gray: “They took me in my nightgown.” (1)

Participle Closer

Sepetys ends sentences with participle closers a lot to show the characters thoughts as well as their actions.

  • Out of the Easy: “I slept alone that night, thinking of my new doll.” (1)

  • Salt to the Sea: “My conscience mocked me, picking fights like a petulant child,” (1)

  • Between Shades of Gray: “Jonas stuck his hand out of the opening in the board, trying to wave,” (60)


Sepetys is using interrupters, so she doesn’t draw attention to the sentence.

  • Out of the Easy: “It amazed me how some people could touch an instrument and create something beautiful, and when others tried, like me, it just sounded like mangled noise.” (41)

  • Salt to the Sea: “It is up to people like me--documentarians of the military-- to report them,” (122)

  • Between Shades of Gray: “We scurried around like hens in a yard, craning our necks for anything the touched the ground,” (220)


Sepetys is using questions to understand and find out more about the characters life.

  • Out of the Easy: “Where was I going?” (131)

  • Salt to the Sea: “Which family ddi the state belong to?” (91)

Between Shades of Gray: “Was she born here in Siberia? (118)
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Common Character Types

Common Character Type

One of Sepetys common character type is having her book based on a character with some sort of problem in her family that the character has to face and solve. For example in Between Shades of Gray, a girl gets taken away by the NKVD. And ends up getting separated from her family. While she is just getting farther and farther away from her home. The character in this book And in Out of the Easy, Josie’s mom is a prostitute and people make fun of her for that and call her mean names in school and out of school. This character is having trouble connecting with her family because of their carriers. And in Salt to the Sea, four girls get caught up in a war. And is trying to survive. These characters are trying to stick together through all of this violence.



Sepetys, Ruta. Out of the easy. New York: Penguin Group, 2013.

--. Between Shades of Gray. New York: Penguin Group, 2011.

--. Salt to the Sea. New York: Philomel, 2016.

--. “Ruta Sepetys.” Ruta Sepetys. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2016. <>.

--Ruta Sepetys. vimeo. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2016.

Ruta Sepetys discusses her novel, Between Shades of Gray